WB is circling Todd Phillips to lead the DC Cinematic Universe and while it might seem sensible, it would take the DCEU in the wrong direction.
The future of the DCEU is at a crossroads and Warner Bros. is already looking in the wrong direction for its fix. While the original Snyderverse and subsequent spinoffs and sequels have been in turn, successful or at least okay, it’s no secret that some of the movies in the DC Cinematic Universe have had their fair share of controversy and critical panning. In response, Warner Bros. – under new management – has made some big changes. It was reported that Joker director Todd Phillips could be in line to oversee a rebooted DCEU, similar to Kevin Feige at Marvel. While this might seem like a good idea on the surface, it would lead the DC slate in the wrong direction.
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Warner Brothers Discovery was established earlier this year after Discovery acquired Warner Bros. in a multi-billion-dollar deal. David Zaslav, as the CEO of the new media giant, quickly made it clear that he was intent on reshaping the future of the DC Cinematic Universe, starting with the installation of a Kevin Feige-like overseer This person would need to pull together the strands of a wider universe into a coherent successful franchise, aping the phenomenal success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Todd Phillips has been mooted to fill that role, albeit as an advisor. The director is best known for The Hangover trilogy, Road Trip and most recently, Joker. His output has been solid, but not necessarily in keeping with the style needed for comic book adaptations.
Related: Joker 2’s Title All But Confirms The Biggest DC Sequel Theory
Warner Bros. needs someone at the helm who knows their stuff, who knows DC as well as Kevin Feige knows Marvel. It needs someone with experience steering multi-million-dollar blockbusters in a planned, coherent direction. It needs someone whose style lends itself to comic book adaptations; while Joker was successful, it wasn’t a “comic book” movie. It felt more like a crime thriller with a couple of DC characters tacked on, and DC at its core is about superheroes. Todd Phillips went to great lengths to steer Joker away from the more fantastical side of comic book storytelling and set it firmly in what could be considered the real world. Warner Bros. is looking in the wrong direction for the future of the DC Cinematic Universe because it’s inconceivable that Phillips could bring Superman, the Green Lantern or the Flash into a universe populated by the kind of real-world characters introduced in Joker.
When the above report came out, it was suggested that “Phillips isn’t an expert on the broader DC universe.” It’s not clear why Warner Bros. would want an advisor in the form of Phillips, who utilized a DC character in a movie barely recognizable as a comic book movie, and who has been reported to be lacking in broader DC knowledge. The studio has a wealth of directors available who’d be more likely to lead the future DC Cinematic Universe in the right direction. As an example, The Batman’s Matt Reeves is not only an accomplished director who took on and directed the Planet of the Apes franchise, but also made a spectacular comic book movie in The Batman. He is knowledgeable about DC and adept at picking up where others have left off.
The DC Cinematic Universe is sorely missing a creative figurehead, but Phillips is not the man for the job. A sequel to Joker has now been confirmed and it can’t be argued that his films aren’t successful, but he doesn’t have the deep knowledge required to oversee an entire cinematic universe. A successful, interconnected comic book universe needs someone with a singular vision of a world where Batman can co-exist with Black Adam and Martian Manhunter. Choosing Phillips as the guiding figure could lead the DCEU in a direction where these characters and the more super-powered superheroes would feel out of place. And that wouldn’t be a very good direction at all.
More: The DCEU Needs To Stop Wasting Its Most Important Setting
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)Release date: Mar 17, 2023
Black Adam (2022)Release date: Oct 21, 2022
The Flash (2023)Release date: Jun 23, 2023
DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)Release date: Dec 21, 2022
Batgirl (2022)Release date: Jun 12, 2022
Blue Beetle (2023)Release date: Aug 18, 2023
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About The Author
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Matthew Leach is a freelance writer for Screen Rant. He has been a broadcast journalist for nearly a decade and was most recently the editor for the Bailiwick Express, a news publication in the Channel Islands.
In his free time Matthew likes to surf with his fiancé and go to the movies.
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